Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Evangelistic Encounter (Follow-Up): 12/19/08


Two things that the reader should know about me for this post to make sense:

First, I have been trying to follow the example of C.J. Mahaney in The Cross Centered Life, in which Mahaney tells how he uses every day greetings as an opportunity to express gospel truth. That is, when someone asks, "How are you doing today?" Mahaney responds with, "Better than I deserve!" Using this as an opportunity to speak of God's grace. I have been sadly inconsistent in following this example, as I often slip back into just replying with the normal, "Fine," when someone asks how I am doing.

Second, I've struggled with how to continue speaking of Christ and calling my co-workers to faith in Him once I have already presented the gospel to them as best as I could. Should I just re-iterate the truths about 'God-Man-Christ-Response' or about God's Law and our need for forgiveness that I have already stated? Wouldn't that sound artificial and just be downright annoying if repeated over and over to the same people? I want to impress my co-workers with the reality of coming judgment without becoming known as a 'fire and brimstone' type of guy, which would obscure the joy to be found in Christ.

So the other night, my co-worker with whom I spoke as mentioned in THIS POST came into my work area and asked, "How's Drew doing?" (Several of my co-workers refer to me as Drew.) For once, I remembered to respond, "Better than I deserve!"

"How is this better than you deserve?" he asked. (We were being overwhelmed with the amount of packages coming down the chute at us.)

"Just think about it," I replied.

After a few seconds he said, "Because we deserve hell?"

"Right, we all deserve hell due to our sins... that's what the Bible teaches," I said.

He didn't say anything, so I added, "That's real serious."

"Is it?" he asked.

A few seconds later, he was called to another work area, so that's where the conversation ended.

I praise God that through what I had previously said (and, in all probability, what he had heard from others as well), my co-worker at least intellectually acknowledges that the Bible teaches we all deserve hell. My prayer is that God would apply this truth to his heart, that my co-worker would see the seriousness of his situation, and that he would call out to Christ for salvation.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Greek Out.

For my fellow biblical Greek students:

HT:: Dan Phillips

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Augustine on Original Sin


Augustine is universally considered to be the most important theologian to Latin (Western) Christianity after the canon of Scripture was completed. One theological contribution made by Augustine was the defense of the doctrine of Original Sin against the Pelagian heresy. Therefore, it was very disappointing to me to realize how unhelpful Augustine's work "On Original Sin" is for someone wishing to explore this topic from a biblical perspective.

Over half of the work is devoted to proving that Pelagius denied Original Sin and that Coelestius was a Pelagian. These were important matters for the Church in Augustine's time, and the proof that Augustine offers against these heretics is certainly of interest to historians, but the discussion is of little use to someone wishing to know what the Bible teaches concerning Original Sin.

Pelagius apparently taught that people before Christ could be saved from God's wrath against sin based on their own good works without reference to Christ, and Augustine does an excellent job in refuting this heresy, also demonstrating that all people since Adam are sinners in need of redemption.

Augustine assumes Original Sin, based on the tradition of the Church, but he also assumes baptismal regeneration and infant baptism. [I've done some study into the historical development of these doctrines, and it seems the Church held to Original Sin from the beginning, based on the teaching of Scripture, the doctrine of baptismal regeneration arose as the early theologians made inappropriate inferences about what the Bible teaches concerning baptism, and thus the practice of infant baptism was finally adopted out of a concern that children- that they might die under the guilt of Original Sin, and thus be damned. The widespread practice of infant baptism was still new in the time of Augustine (Augustine himself was not baptised until he was an adult believer, though his mother was a devout Christian, and their is evidence that some of his contemporaries also were baptised as adult believers), but the practice became virtually universal in a very short time.]

In writing on Original Sin, Augustine does make an argument that if one were to claim it unjust of God to count anyone guilty due to the sin of Adam, one must also consider it unjust of God to count anyone righteous due to the work of Christ.

Augustine cites Romans 5:12, Job 14:4-5, and Psalm 51:5 as proof texts for Original Sin, but he offers no exegesis of these passages.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Albert Mohler on Talk of the Nation


If I happen to be driving at around 3PM, I usually listen to the Talk of the Nation NPR broadcast, which airs here in Louisville on 89.3 FM.

Yesterday, one segment of the show was devoted to the recent Newsweek cover story, "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage," written by Lisa Miller, who is the religion editor for the magazine. [This story was not journalism in any proper sense, but was rather propaganda in favor of 'gay marriage;' Christianity Today gave a good editorial response, and Dr. Albert Mohler wrote an excellent article pointing out the many fallacies in Miller's story.]

On Talk of the Nation the host, Neal Conan, interviewed Lisa Miller for the first part of the segment, then he introduced Albert Mohler, who was able to give a brief response to Miller. Following this, some callers were heard and both Miller and Mohler responded to the calls. Dr. Mohler gave uncompromising, insightful answers in the brief time he was given. The radio program may be heard HERE.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Original Sin: An Inquiry

Question: Does Adam's sin nature, inherited by each individual from the moment of conception (Psalm 51:5) necessitate that every individual [Christ excepting] is under God's condemnation for Adam's sin from the moment of conception?

Theory:

WHEREAS believers in Christ are foreknown and predestined (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:11; 1 Peter 1:2),

AND WHEREAS Christ died on the Cross as a sacrifice for the removal of the sins of many (Hebrews 9:26-28), His blood taking away their sins (Hebrews 10),

AND WHEREAS the death of Christ for the removal of the sins of many was necessary so that He would be raised from the dead, which brings about justification for this same group (Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:21),

AND WHEREAS this "many" is declared righteous by faith, so that salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:9), the righteousness of Christ being applied to an individual at the moment of faith , so that previous to faith, an individual is not considered righteous, but is instead alienated and hostile in mind toward God (Colossians 1:21), being by nature under God's wrath (Ephesians 2:3),

AND WHEREAS the relationship of the believer to Christ is declared to be analogous to the relationship of the unbeliever to Adam (Romans 5:12-21),

IT IS PROPOSED THAT just as the elect person is not counted as righteous on the basis of Christ's righteous work until he or she actually believes in Jesus Christ as Lord, that the unbeliever is not condemned on the basis of Adam's unrighteous deed until he or she acts in accordance with this unbelief through a personal sin against God. IN OTHER WORDS, that as personal faith in Christ is the means through which the righteousness of Christ is appropriated, in a similar way, personal sin is the means through which the condemnation of Adam is appropriated.

A possible objection to the above theory: Does the truth of Ephesians 2:3- that we are, by nature, under wrath- suggest that no personal act of sin is necessary, but that each individual is under God's wrath from the moment of conception due to Original Sin?

Proposed course of study: In researching this question and related issues, I plan to read the following-

Some implications: How does a right doctrine of Original Sin relate to the question of the salvation of infants or the mentally impaired?

Methodology: I will read the works listed above as the authors of these works are the most respected theologians in Christian history in terms of their thinking on this particular subject. My hope is that they will direct my attention to the most pertinent biblical passages related to Original Sin. I realize that there will probably be weaknesses (perhaps serious weaknesses) as well as strengths in each of these writings (for example, I know that Augustine held some view that Original Sin was washed away in infant baptism, which is biblically preposterous), but I will give careful consideration to the arguments I find, and particularly to the exegesis of Scripture offered by each author. During the course of this study, I will learn how the above proposed theory needs to be adapted or replaced as I gain a greater understanding of the biblical doctrine of Original Sin.

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